I am adding some unexpected interest to my digital planner.
I’ll state this up front, the actual digital planner was not created by me. This planner was offered in the Friday Freebies on Boho Berry’s Digital Planners Facebook group. I have only made slight alterations to the planner so it will work for my personal use.
It first started when I decided to add a tracker for my bible reading. Then I thought I would try adding the daily weather. Things progressed from there.
These are my pages for yesterday and today, without my journaling. I inevitably fill up the white space with journaling about my day and my thoughts. I should tell you now, the artwork is NOT mine.
The graphics for the weather came from a Friday Freebie on, you guessed it (if you read my previous posts) Boho Berry’s Digital Planner Facebook group.
I did create the box with the list in it and the trackers at the bottom. Thanks to someone in the same group sharing how they could easily create trackers in a spreadsheet, copy them and paste them into their digital planner.
The flower on the list and the background fox image came from a coloring app I use on my phone, called Happy Color. After I completed coloring in the graphic, there is an option to share it so, I sent it to my computer and pasted it into my digital planner.
I really loved how the flower looked in my planner yesterday so today I decided to see how the images work in the background. It worked AMAZINGLY!! So now, I can capture some details about my day without having to say anything, by choosing one of the pictures I color that day and placing it into my planner.
None of this is difficult to do. Some of it requires using a couple different applications. I had a few obstacles to overcome, like acquiring Affinity Designer. If push came to shove, I could have done most everything in my older version of Adobe Photoshop Elements but the process takes far longer and is much more complicated. I discovered Affinity has all its products on sale so I jumped on it and gave it to myself (a few days early) for a Christmas present.
I did have one issue in trying to figure out how to make the background of the images transparent in Affinity Designer but a quick google search took me to the Forums on Affinity where someone had already asked the question and received an answer. Again, it is a very simple process. It was just a matter of finding where in Designer it could be done. This wasn’t one that would have been intuitively obvious. I might never have found it if I hadn’t searched online for the answer. Once learned though, it is quick and simple and I don’t have to use a magic tool to click in all the small areas where I want the background transparent.
There is at least one huge difference between Adobe Photoshop Elements (I have version 10), and Affinity Designer. Affinity Designer will import a PDF file and build layers. If I open a PDF file in Affinity Designer it shows a dialogue box where you can import ALL pages or select a page to import. I usually select one page. Designer builds layers for each element in the page. How quickly Affinity Designer does this is amazing.
My version of Adobe Photoshop Elements does NOT build layers. It opens a single page onto one layer which means there are NO elements which can be altered.
The layers Affinity Designer creates are great because each element is given a layer. I can then select an element and alter it if I want to change part of it. For instance, in the digital planner, if I want to change the text on a tab, all I have to do is select the text and change it. Same with the tab, if I want to change the color, I can do that as well. I can alter the shape of the tabs or any part of the page.
In Adobe Photoshop Elements, I’m either stuck with the shape and design or find a way to put a layer over it to cover it with what I want. Adobe Photoshop Elements is also VERY slow in rasterizing the PDF file.
I know this functionality of creating a layers from a PDF file so all the elements can be altered can create an ethical dilemma for designers. When I first came across digital planners, I wanted to know how they worked. Knowing how they work, also helps me to know what software was needed to make them work. I needed to know this because I was wanting to use them on my Windows desktop, not an Android table or an iPad. Watching some of Boho Berry’s videos gave me enough information to find some software to play with but it took a lot of searching to find the RIGHT software for the job I wanted them to do.
The other thing watching her videos did was help me to understand the planners are built by using layers upon layers to achieve the effect. I wasn’t sure how deeply this went until I discovered Affinity Designer. Breaking a single page down into ALL of its layers gave me the information I needed.
These planners take a lot of work to build. What Kara and others have built took a lot of time. Seeing all the layers in Affinity Designer for just one page makes me appreciate all the HARD work the creator of the planner did to develop it.
Affinity Designer enables me to alter an existing PDF to make it the way I want it. But it also opens up a possible ethical situation if someone should use it to take someone else’s design and change a portion of it and then call it their own. As an artist, I would never do that. It bothers me immensely when I hear of other “artists” taking someone’s work and either not crediting the original artist and letting people assume they own it or altering it slightly and then claiming it as theirs. They are not artists in my opinion.
I may one day attempt to create my own digital planner. If I did, I would create it from scratch. But right now I’m just happy to be able to use a planner someone else built for my own personal use so I can determine whether this is a daily practice I will continue with or if it will peter out like it did when I tried creating my own bullet journal. Working with a bullet journal lasted maybe six months before it became old.
I had, also developed an issue with my wrist due to all the handwriting I was doing. Switching to using the computer to type out my journal digitally has allowed my wrist to heal. I,also, learned the benefit of being able to keep up with my thoughts through typing. Many of my thoughts wouldn’t end up on paper because I couldn’t write fast enough.
I am an interesting balance of analytical/logical and creative/abstract. This becomes apparent when I consider what I’m drawn towards. I love math, especially algebra and geometric shapes. I think things through logically. I’m always wanting to create things with my hands. I knit and crochet, draw, paint, write stories and poetry along with my journaling. Once I learn how to do something I then find ways to tweak it, especially in my handmade items, like knitting. Computers have enabled me to combine both worlds which is why I think digital planners/journals will be my forever “go to” for expressing myself.
If an app is ever created which will allow a user to work completely within one app with their digital planner, I can see using these digital planners by everyone from church leaders/pastors to, business leaders, government aides and even children with their school work. I have been able to incorporate pages into my planner from a Bible in PDF format, have a blank page opposite where I write my notes, highlight the bible text, circle, underline and add supporting pictures and whatever else someone does to make it stand out. AND… it is all searchable in the PDF document once it is saved, including any annotations and notes. This can’t be done in hand written notes or hard copy books. I can add links to the PDF document as well so a reference can be found easily. In essence, these planners are becoming archival information of people lives and the knowledge they gather for themselves.
WE ARE CREATING OUR OWN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS.
For someone who didn’t excel in history class, I find this fascinating.